President Obama attended a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser Monday at the Highland Park, Texas, home of Russell Budd, president of Baron & Budd P.C., one of the nation's premier plaintiff's firms.
Baron & Budd is also one of the premier law firms trying to cash in on the Deepwater Horizon spill.
The White House pressured BP into establishing a $20 billion escrow fund to compensate people harmed by the oil spill, appointing Ken Feinberg as the independent administrator to manage the fund. Kimberly Strassel interviewed Feinberg for a lengthy piece in last weekend's Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Fairness." In it, Feinberg explained the animating principles behind the fund:
Payout rules will be based broadly on federal oil-spill law and Gulf-state tort law, though they will also be "more generous" than what a court might reward. That approach, he says, will encourage claimants into the fund, foregoing the "long, litigation route" and allowing BP to "corral as many claimants as possible." The overall message, he says, is this: "If we're not going to pay, nobody's going to pay. That's my philosophy on this thing."
Yet President Obama is embracing one of the leading opponents of this approach toward compensation, turning to the litigation industry for campaign cash. It seems ... inconsistent.
More from the Texas Lawyer Blog, "President Obama to break bread with Russell Budd, 90 others at fundraiser":
Bill White, a Houston lawyer who is the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, is not attending the private fundraiser, but Budd says a number of lawyers will be in the crowd, including U.S. Trade Representative and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk; American Association for Justice Vice President Mary Alice McLarty, of Dallas' McLarty Law Firm; and Domingo Garcia of Domingo Garcia P.C.of Dallas.
News coverage ...
- Fort Worth Star Telegram, "Obama's first visit to North Texas since election is a quick one"
- Dallas Morning News, "Obama hauls in checks during short visit to Dallas and Austin," with a nice little bit of snark through juxtaposition: "'There are a lot of people here in Dallas, a lot of people all across America, who are struggling.' Obama told more than 100 donors at the Highland Park home of plaintiffs lawyer Russell Budd, where Senate Democrats raised $650,000 over crab claws and jumbo shrimp. "
UPDATE (2:15 p.m.): The White House has posted the President's remarks from the DSCC fundraiser here. How strange to attack "special interests" at a political fundraiser hosted by trial lawyers.